Kristy’s Birthday

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Thursday finds me at o’Neills for Vida (soon to be VidaSoul). I’ve arrived late as ever, thanks to a pre-arranged choir practice. Tim Somerfield is doing some mellow numbers as I walk in; next are Karl and Kristy the birthday girl as Verbatim. Doing covers in their own way, this is the second version of Toxic I’ve heard this week, and it’s pacy almost with a new country feel to it, and is as different from the original as Ali Bangay’s and Sarah Griffin’s takes, the other versions I’ve heard. Karl’s guitar work is pretty perfect for the setting of them both; Kristy’s voice totally blows me away; the duo make a good impression.

Now we get to the main attraction, Tim (bass), Richard (for Rio on drums) and Karl (guitar) take to the stage and start a little jam going waiting for the ladies to join. They soon break into a funky intro for Crazy In Love which is way up tempo and licks the pub into uproar, setting a high bar for the rest of the night.

Having heard them do acoustic versions of this and next song Dollar on the radio show the previous night, its a change to hear them pumped up and tricked out, this time to a full audience. They start a Christmas mood with Rockin’ Around The Christmas tree, what I find amusing is checking out the normally impeccable back line, working the chords and passing them to each other. This signals a slightly toned-down section, until Candy Man starts with a slinky sexy slow beginning, before bursting forth into full on rock ‘n’ roll.

Show – Vida (VidaSoul)

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I’ve seen Vida perform perhaps the most of all the bands I’ve seen this year, they gain 6 blog entries, and also played a (not blogged) garden party for me in the summer. I was pleased to finally obtain them for a radio show after a few attempts. They arrive at the studio before me; I’m searching for them when I hear their voices down a corridor. They’ve set up in a stairwell to rehearse one of the new tunes they’ve included in their repertoire for Christmas, and sound so amazing in that reverberating area I want to move the studio to them.

Instead at the allotted time we troop in to the padded box, and so begins another of my most enjoyable interviews ever. It says a lot for our local scene that many of the guests I have on the show are memorable – Pete Christie, Voodoo Vegas, Big Face Reggae to limit it to just three. Lots of interesting chat, loads of laughter, and 5 amazing acoustic renditions in the Vida way of strong cover songs. They suggest that their name might soon be changing to VidaSoul, so keep an eye out. Great stuff.

Vida Plugged & Acoustic Sessions

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Vida @ Walkabout Sun 30 OctI’m in Walkabout for Vida‘s performance – they’ve been offered a Sunday night slot as a result of a competition they were in at the bar. I’m surprised at the way the venue works for live bands – the stage is decorated and well lit, with the expected plenty of space for dancing. While there are maybe 30 people here, Walkabout is so large the place seems empty, which is a shame as I’d like to see bands like Vida breaking into newer venues, showing that local live music can work for a platform.

Soapbox over, this is the first time I’ve heard them non-acoustic, outside of their Smokin’ Aces residency. This means Rio (drums) can use his proper kit, and its given him a new lease of live – or he’s just missing the opportunities to flair in Big Face and Dusty. The numbers are funkier, and there’s strong disco evidence in effect too, as well as the as ever strong harmonies from the girls. Karl (guitar) and Tim (bass) seem to be enjoying the groove too, though playing to a seemingly empty house must be hard.

Some (other) punters do step forward – including a rather butch Amy Winehouse dress-alike – who Elena picks up on and engages with, before launching into the Vida version of Back To Black. That’s what I like about Vida, having plenty of stagecraft means they work with whatever they’re given, even if its lemons not plums ūüôā

Sunday Sessions @ Chaplins, 30 OctOn to Chaplins for their Sunday Sessions, where Andy Stock is regaling the select few with his sung stories. As usual for me, by the time I’ve been downstairs for a drink and returned, he’s finished! Sunday Sessions @ Chaplins, 30 OctWe’re left in the uncertain hands of Lorenzo (beat pad), Andy (guitar) & Michael (Bass), more or less jamming together since they’ve not played before. ¬†Andy is on solo again afterwards, and regales a totally incorrect song, that is actually really funny. Not to be repeated here, sorry (radio rules) ūüėČ

Made In Pangaea & Focal – Thu 13 Oct


Jouis @ Made In Pangaea 13 OctDarren was on the show last night promoting all that Made In Pangaea is about – he did a good job, since I’m here!¬† Jouis are just about to start when I join in with what promises to be a wonderful evening. Having last heard them in acoustic mode at Steve Biddle’s So Much So book launch its a delight to hear them in full on mode, and at a decent non-overpowering sound level (thanks Totally Lostit).

Vida @ Focal, just before Crazy In Love 13 OctFor those that haven’t wandered across¬†Jouis before they are a Brighton band formerly of Bournemouth, mixing up funk and prog, with decent rhythms and melodies. They are great to groove to, or just to chill out to, as your mood takes you.

Kimari Raven @ Focal, Smokin Aces 13 OctI pop over the road and down the hill to catch tonight’s Focal at Smokin Aces. Vida are the host/esses and start with four songs, one a new one, the last being a fave of mine Crazy In Love. They soon give way for the vocal talents of Kimari Raven, who amazes me nowadays with her confidence, despite (or perhaps because of) some pre-gig nerves.

Besh O Drom @ Made In Pangaea, trhe Winchester 13 OctBack to¬†Made In Pangaea and Besh O Drom are in full effect. Gipsy folk yet not really, it’s all just a good excuse to have a bob around to incredibly fast rhythms and notes on some form of wind synthesiser. Absolutely frenetic is about all I can say.¬† There are loads of people rammed into the Winchester by now, and the music is pumping them into a frenzy.¬† While the lyrics are not understandable, they are delivered at such a pace, and the sax solos are so extreme, that it’s almost impossible not to jump around in time to all that’s going on.¬† Well worth catching these guys on one of their rare forays into the UK from their Hungarian home.

Vicky Barents & Tim Rea @ Focal, Smokin Aces 13 OctAfter what seems a more or less continuous jump up and down session, back to Focal for a totally laid back end to the evening. Vicky Barents (of The Goodfoot Band) is doing a set of her unique covers and originals, with Tim Rea accompanying her. Mellow and soulful, she is a real diva, voice all over the range, and strong with it, the amplification is barely needed in the small and intimate bar. Love it.

Vida @ Focal 2nd time around :) 13 OctFinally¬†Vida perform a closing set. They’re in full plugged in mode tonight, giving Tim and Karl ample opportunity to show off their instrumental talents to counter the amazing female harmonies, all while Rio is doing his best to provide the beats on the electric drums. A fantastic night on all fronts.

Vida Fri 29 July

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Vida @ The Richmond ArmsRichmond Arms again, for more female vocal entertainment, this time courtesy of Natalee, Elena and Kristy aka Vida, when mixed with Afro Ninja and Karl the ensemble making a fantastic sound.¬† Since I’ve already said a lot about these guys, both the first time I saw them in May, and later in July (they also generously played at a garden¬†party I put together for my birthday). I won’t put any more here, except to say the are honing their sound, and really focussing in on what they are best at, making each show better and better.¬† This alone compels one to keep seeing them and coming back for more, hence my appearance at this latest gig of theirs. Love it, and love them.

Show & Vida

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Short post this time – the Radio show tonight was all about Grooves On The Green, a big little Sunday afternoon festival held annually in Parkstone.¬† Solid Air arrange the music stage, and publicity is dissuaded, so its very much word of mouth.¬† Therefore Conrad runs through the guest line up, and plays some beats accordingly.¬† However this time, Solid Air’s guests are Chris and Amy from Rose Red Records, so Amy is doing a lot of the music choices.¬† We end up with a lot of eclectic-ism, and many tributes to Martin Roberts, one of the prolific musical experimentalists in the area, whose group Powdered Cows are on stage this year.

Vida O'Neills 6 JulyAfter two wonderful hours with Conrad, Chris and Amy, I head up to see Vida playing in O’Neill’s.¬† I say playing, Vida are a female vocal trio comprising Krista, Elena and Natalee, with sympathetic backing tonight provided by Karl on acoustic guitar and Afro-Ninja Tim on Cajon and second acoustic (normal drummer Rio can’t make it).¬† I loved them the first time I saw them, and tonight is just as good.¬† However it’s been a long day, so I only stay for about half a dozen fantastic tunes before wending my way home…


May Focal @ Smokin’ Aces


Smokin’ Aces is a great little bar – its obviously a good place to hang out, many people I don’t recognise as musos are here just enjoying what’s going on. The only blights are the abysmal lack of free parking at 10 pm in the town centre, and an exhorbitant ¬£1.50 for half a glass of squash.¬† Just a short report tonight…

Isobel Thatcher

Isobel Thatcher Smokin AcesShe’s on when I arrive, she’s got a great voice, she’s also sickeningly young with a huge amount of talent. She’s just playing an acoustic guitar and singing, but I’m doing her an injustice with that description, definitely worth seeking her out again.

Natalie Betts

Natalie Betts Smokin AcesBelied by the name as this is a four piece band, Natalie leading on acoustic guitar and voice, with bass, drums and accompanying female vocal. They are playing good stuff too, voices working well in harmony. At the end they cover Teenage Dirtbag, its rhythmic, and an amazing difference to the original showing their creativity.


Vida Smokin AcesThese are the house band for Focal evenings. Three incredible ladies with amazing individual voices, combining their talents together and having a good time with it. Oh –¬†there’s Karl & Rio playing for them to sing against. The ladies being Kristy, Elena and Natalee, they all have their various heritages, indeed Kristy and Elena were in much missed¬†funk band Otto together.

Vida Smokin' AcesThey take turns leading each song, with the other two placing harmonic Ooohs and Aaaahs accordingly, or singing a choral lyric, again harmonised. Their cover of In The Air Tonight is incredible, each takes a different harmony, combined singing a capella, plus taking one line at a time solo, while still in their harmonic key.

As Karl gently brings the music in the verse is more poetised than sung, and we get two drum ‘ins’. The thing I really like is the clear communication between the ladies, signals showing counts, going high or low, and ordering their voice parts. Brilliant.